The Sugarcubes tonight. A band that achieved international recognition and were widely acclaimed by both audience and critics. More than that, they put Iceland on the musical map, and in doing so created a more widespread recognition and acceptance of bands in other parts of the world. Not that bands from other countries never got exposure in English speaking markets. It’s just that, all of a sudden Iceland, as well as Sweden and the Nordic region in general, were now being looked at as hotbeds of interesting musical activity – and suddenly the playing field got bigger.
But on their own, The Sugarcubes were a wildly interesting and engaging band – partly because of what they were up to musically, but also because their lead singer and co-founder Bjork just grabbed everybody’s attention. They were characterized as emissaries of Avant-Pop, a sort of hybrid of Post-Punk which included elements of Techno, New Wave, Pop and a host of other influences.
Together for a relatively short period of time (1986-1992), they made a huge impression and were not only influential, they did spark interest in just what else was going on in Iceland.
This session, done a few months after their initial session for John Peel, was done for Simon Mayo, also at BBC Radio 1 on March 12 of 1988. It comes a few months ahead of their debut album, Life’s Too Good, which came out in August of that year in both the UK and the U.S. The exposure and the popularity of the band around the BBC helped get their message across and it no doubt helped spread word across the Atlantic where College Radio was quickly responding to them as well.
But things being as they are – and the fickle nature of audiences, they fell out of popularity in the early 1990s and dissolved in 1992 – parting on good terms; still friends and partners in their own label. Bjork has gone off to a successful solo career, which she is still enjoying and the other members have done other projects.
If you missed The Sugarcubes the first time around, here’s a reminder and a sample of what the fuss was all about.
It’s suggested you play this at a nice, ear-splitting volume.